CHAMBER OF MINES SEEKS INTERVENTION ON MINING CHARTER

The African National Congress has met with the Chamber of Mines following concerns raised by the Chamber about the revised Mining Charter announced by Mineral Resources Minister, Comrade Mosebenzi Zwane last week. The meeting attended by ANC Secretary General, Comrade Gwede Mantashe, Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize and members of the Economic Transformation Subcommittee led by Chairperson Enoch Godongwane was held at Luthuli House yesterday.

The Chamber of Mines is the mining industry employer organization representing 67 companies which are responsible for the production of 90% of South Africa’s mineral production. It defines its key role as “the facilitation of interaction among mining employers to examine policy issues and other matters of mutual concern to crystallise and define desirable industry standpoints.” The Chamber met with the ANC to voice its dissatisfaction with the “flawed process”, the content and the “continuing consequences” of the Mining Charter.

In the meeting representatives of the mining industry called on the ANC to intervene and mediate in the impasse between the industry and the Department of Mineral Resources. “We want to go back to the negotiating table with government in order to emerge with a solution that must work for both parties. Through thorough negotiation, as we had in the development of the first and second Mining Charters,  we are confident that we may come up with an outcome that responds to the urgent national imperative of transformation whilst retaining the vision of a globally competitive mining industry” said the industry.

In particular the Chamber decries what it has called a lack of consultation on the amendments in the mining charter claiming that the new Charter is “fundamentally different from the draft Charter published in April last year.” According to the Chamber, “the content proposed has very draconian measures most of which are brand new ideas which being parachuted into the new Charter after extensive discussions had already been held.”

The Chamber also laments the break down of trust between itself and the Department of Mineral Resources and has committed to participating in any type of mediated process to restore trust between the parties.

Substantive issues that the Chamber of Mines objects in the new charter include the directive to distribute 1% of turnover amongst BEE partners before any distribution to shareholders. The inclusion of naturalized citizens as beneficiaries of that Charter was likened to the act of “feeding the neighbour’s children before you are able to feed your own”, arguing that South Africa has not yet manage to empower its own citizens yet now proposes extending these minimal opportunities to naturalized citizens.

ANC Secretary General Cde Gwede Mantashe has committed to raise the issues brought forward by the Mining Chamber within the organization and with its deployees in government.

Mantashe emphasized the need to accelerate the pace of change in the mining sector, warning however of adopting a reckless approach to enforcing transformation. “We have a responsibility to mitigate between a conservative and adventurous approach to the economy. Yes there are problems and transformation in the mining industry is not happening at an acceptable pace.When there are problems populism comes to the fore and in the process destroy what is already there” says Mantashe.

The Chamber has called on the ANC to ensure policy certainty and work with the industry restore investor confidence. “Through a process of co-creation..” government and industry must “embrace imperatives of transformation on one hand within a framework that can make the industry attractive and investable”. The Chamber impressed upon the ANC to intervene calling for the “political leadership of the country to prevail upon government to suspend the application of charter and send the parties back to table for a mediated discussion. Through such negotiations we can craft an outcome where the Charter can be owned, defended and implemented by all stakeholders.”

NATIONAL POLICY CONFERENCE TO PROCEED AS PLANNED

Staff Reporter

The African National Congress will hold its 5th National Policy Conference from the 30th of June until the 5th of July 2017 at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Gauteng Province.

Speaking in an interview with ANC Today, the ANC Deputy Secretary General, Comrade Jessie Duarte assured South Africans that the National Policy Conference scheduled for this month will proceed as planned.

“We offered the veterans and stalwarts of our movement coordinated in a grouping called ‘101’ two days (30 June until 01 July 2017), attached to our policy conference, in which they would participate fully in whatever manner they wish to, to raise issues that they wanted to raise. They have declined. It is not us, the ANC, who called it off. They declined to participate with our branches in a discussion” Duarte said.

Asked about the next steps the organisation will follow in relation to the two days which had initially been set aside for the discussion with the stalwarts, Duarte said  “We were obliged to continue with the debate and discussion. We have kept the two days unchanged and there will be very robust discussions about challenges facing the organisation. There is no cancellation, we will continue as planned”.

“During these two days, Conference will receive a Diagnostic Report from the Secretary General then discuss this together with presentations on the progress in implementing the National Development Plan (NDP), the Strategy and Tactics of the ANC, as well as the Organisational Renewal document.

“We are hoping that out of the discussions on organisational renewal and strategy and tactics, we will be able to emerge, after seven days, with clarity on how we deal with challenges that face our organisation. We will also look at our successes and the extent to which ANC  policies have been impactful to change for the better the lives of the people of South Africa”

Asked about challenges facing ANC, the Deputy Secretary General spoke at length about gatekeeping, use of money to influence members and the narrative of weak leadership.

“Each generation has its own challenges and finds its own solutions. The organisational renewal document encompasses all the views that have been expressed by all, including; people in the group called ‘101’, even independent people who have spoken about their own feelings” Duarte said.

On gatekeeping, Duarte said “We are going to look at our organisation. It is not a general condition in the ANC that every branch is in a crisis, or every region is in a crisis. There are problems about gatekeeping in some areas, that must be dealt with”

On the so-called use of brown envelopes (buying of votes), the Deputy Secretary General cautioned against generalisation and had a stern warning on those who use money to influence the thinking of members and/or delegates.

“That is another generalisation that we must deal with. Yes, there are people who go around with money to try and influence thinking of people. That is criminal offence, as far as we are concerned. Where this is happening, we want to start charging people criminally. It is not really our constitution that must enable to do so, but it is in fact the laws of the country, because that is fraudulent behavior”

On the narrative of weak leadership, Duarte said “That is a judgement call. One would have to analyse that and look at how previous NECs have performed. We must analyse our achievements. We want an atmosphere of productive criticism, self-criticism, and out of this develop a productive programme of action, so that we move forward”

The Deputy Secretary General expects that Radical Economic Transformation and Land restitution and redistribution will be at the heart of discussions. “‘Our focus is on giving practical expression to the program of Radical Economic Transformation and the resolution of the land question. That will occupy the minds of people in terms of wanting to see resolutions that give effect to the need to accelerated resolution of these challenges” Duarte said.

“We have prepared our delegates very well. People have been having political discussions in branches, regions, and provinces, robustly so. We are expecting productive engagements” Duarte added.

“Throughout the Policy Conference there will be a variety of views and all of these are welcomed. As part of the 4300 strong delegation there will be people who are not, technically, branch delegates. We have invited amongst others former NEC members, Churches, Trade Unions, NGOs” Duarte concluded.

ANC MUST TAKE UP THE FIGHT AGAINST FEMICIDE

A man should have self-respect, respect for women and be disciplined.

This was the stern advice ANC Secretary General, Comrade Gwede Mantashe issued to men at a Youth Month Rally, organized by the ANC OR Tambo Region, in Libode.

“We will never be free until we reclaim our streets and when girls are able to walk at night without fear of being hurt” Mantashe said; adding: “people who are in a better position to solve this problem are men. A man should have self respect, respect for women and be disciplined”.

“It must be our role as the ANC to fight against the rape and the killing of women. These brutal acts can’t happen in our communities” Mantashe said.

In recent weeks, the country has been faced with a number of reports relating to the abduction and killing of young women. The cases of amongst others, Karabo Mokoena and Thembisile Yende made national headlines.

Speaking on what needs to be done to deal with such killings, Mantashe called on the youth and communities to take up an active role in the fight against femicide.

“Let us convene anti-crime street communities.. we must take responsibility for our streets and communities” Mantashe said.

The Secretary-General also used the opportunity to reflect on the importance of Youth Month, the successes of the 1944 ANC Youth League (ANCYL) generation and the role of young people today.

“When we celebrate the heroism of the youth, we shouldn’t only trace them from 1976, but from 1944, when the ANCYL was formed. The youth league of 1944 led us for 5 decades from 1944 until 1994” Mantashe told supporters.

He expanded on the role the 1944 youth generation played in the struggle against the apartheid regime.

“In 1961, when the ANC was banned, young people took an initiative to form Umkhonto weSizwe, they swelled its ranks and led the movement until 1994″ Mantashe said.

On the generation of 1976 Mantashe said “The youth of ’76 fought against the imposition of Afrikaans. They succeeded. That is the role of young people who have a purpose. Young people should have a purpose at all times, because they are the future, present and past”

On the #FeesMustFall student protests, he said: ”When young people demand that #FeesMustFall, we must not be afraid and disown them. We must know that it is a duty of a young person to be bold and adventurous. Being bold is about fulfilling their youthfulness”

Mantashe emphasized the need to explain the successes of the ANC government to the youth.

“When there are protests regarding education, ANC becomes a victim of its own success. When ANC took charge of this government, black students at universities were 150 000, they are now over 850 000 today”.

“There are many black and young people who have now joined the so-called ‘middle class’ stratum. That is a product of the success of ANC policies” Mantashe added.

“Young intellectuals are critical and analytical. They protest against e-tolls, not because they don’t want development, but, because they add to their cost structure. There is nothing wrong with fighting that”

On the role of young people in the ANC today, Mantashe called on young people to choose between being part of factions and/or to be part of the solutions to ANC problems.

“Young people of today, must choose the role they want to play. They can choose to be part of a muddy faction, going around criticizing people they don’t agree with, or position themselves to be part of the solution to the problems facing the ANC”.

With regards to discussing names of potential ANC leaders, the Secretary-General called on young people to assess the track record, strengths and weaknesses of their potential candidates.

“We must ensure that we avoid accidental leadership succession. Accidental leadership succession is a product of corruption and factionalism”

“If we don’t do that the movement will decline. Decline of an organization is not just numbers. It doesn’t start there. Numbers are an indication and symptom. Decline starts on our ethical behavior. If our behavior is unethical, we don’t have revolutionary morality, the movement will decline” Mantashe said; adding that unethical behavior dented the values of the ANC, broke the traditions of the movement and would lead to its irreversible decline.

“The December Conference is going to be a critical cog in saving the organization. Let us be serious and send out a clear message, that we are in a muddy situation and we want out of it. Unity of the ANC is important. Unity of the ANC and Alliance will take us out of the problems we are facing” Mantashe said.

“We have a responsibility to unify the ANC and restore the people’s confidence in their movement,” he concluded.

ANC DELIVERS MESSAGE OF SUPPORT AT RPF CONGRESS

ednaStaff Reporter

The African National Congress (ANC) has expressed its solidarity with the ruling party of Rwanda, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) at the party’s Extraordinary National Congress held last weekend in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The chairperson of the ANC’s International Relations Subcommittee, Comrade Edna Molewa congratulated Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his country’s significant achievements under the leadership of the RPF. The the RPF’s Nine-Point Political Programme bears similarity to the ANC Strategy and Tactics.

The relatively small country has managed to achieve consistently high economic growth rates and is widely regarded as one of the strongest economies on the continent. Rwanda also consistently ranks high on a number of human development indices.

The ANC and the RPF enjoy longstanding fraternal ties. The peoples of the two countries also share ‘a shared birthday’, having experienced political rebirth in 1994. President Kagame visited South Africa in 2001 where he was warmly received by the ANC and President Mandela.

The RPF like the ANC was founded on the premise of forging unity amongst the people of Rwanda following a devastating and bloody history that sought to tear the nation apart. The RPF like the ANC faces the task of nation-building whilst simultaneously addressing a legacy of skewed development that advantaged certain groups over others.

Rwandans will go to the polls in August to elect a new President, and the ANC expressed its support for President Kagame, saying the party would ‘always continue to nurture and build bridges as well as build friendship and solidarity with the people of Rwanda.’

Comrade Molewa noted that South Africa and Rwanda “shared mutual experiences and struggles from a social point of view, economically, culturally, and also people to people,” adding that this was “within the context of the sovereignty of our respective countries.”

She reiterated that South Africa would continue to work with President Kagame and the leadership of the RPF in building a unified Africa. She added that the ANC recognized the role played by the RPF in the growing prosperity of the people of Rwanda.

“You are really making us proud,” Comrade Molewa told the Congress delegates.

She told delegates that the ANC would soon go to a National Policy Conference, followed by a National Conference; and that the ANC would be at both conferences making the point that South Africa is an integral part of Africa.

“If Africa fails, South Africa will fail…if South Africa fails, Africa will fail.. if Rwanda fails, Africa will fail, she said to resounding applause.

The subcommittee chairperson told the Congress the ANC looked forward to working together with Rwanda in implementing Agenda 2063 of the African Union. “We will work together to silence the guns on our continent, and we will work together to bring about prosperity of our nations,” she said.

Molewa conveyed the message from the leadership of the ANC that the organization remained committed to working with the RPF, and congratulated the RPF on the hosting of a successful and well-run Congress.

WHY ONLY 100 BLACK INDUSTRIALISTS? – ANC TG MKHIZE

zweliStaff Reporter

Why is government planning on developing and supporting only 100 black industrialists? This is the question put by the Treasurer General (TG) of the African National Congress (ANC), Comrade Zweli Mkhize put to the Presidential Advisory Council on Black Economic Empowerment in a meeting held in Johannesburg this past week. The meeting was held as part of the stakeholder engagement processes ahead of the ANC’s National Policy Conference to be held in Johannesburg from the 30th June 2017.

The Presidential Council is established in terms of the BBBEE Act and met with the ANC Treasurer-General to provide an update on work done in the implementation of the Charters, identify areas for policy review and exchange ideas on how to accelerate inclusive economic growth and job creation.

The Council has established work streams to coordinate its work being a focus on the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA), the Black Industrialists Programme and Radical Economic Transformation amongst others.

The Black Industrialist Program was launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to catalyze the participation of black (African, Indian and Coloured) people in the “origination, creation, significant ownership, management and operation of industrial enterprises that derive value from the manufacturing of goods and services at a large scale”. According to the DTI, the program would shift the demographic composition of South Africa’s industrial sector to allow the country to take advantage of its resources and diversity as a nation.

At its inception the DTI committed to work with entrepreneurs to create 100 black industrialists by March 2018. Reasons cited for this ceiling were available resources, and the need to manage government’s ambitions within the reality of what is feasible. Once take up and interest from entrepreneurs had been established, government would then seek additional funding to drive this program.

“Much more must be done to effect fundamental and radical change in the economy; 100 industrialists just isn’t enough” say Mkhize. “In 2017, unlike in 1994, there are thousands of black professionals, technicians and entrepreneurs who have the requisite set of complex skills and industry experience as well as track record of outstanding achievements to be trusted to become competent industrialists”.

According to Mkhize, “Many more entrepreneurs have proven themselves in operations, and financial institutions. Investors should show confidence by supporting them to be industrialists. This will bring about the inclusivity that will deracialise the ownership patterns and bring in more new players from disadvantaged communities into the real economy.”

The meeting also agreed that the Black Industrialist program must also support and be integrated into other government programs to expand manufacturing capacity for employment creation. There should also be discussions on the key tenets of the programme, including the need to expand the sectors supported through the program.

Members of the Council decried the R15m cap for financial support and committed themselves to continue engagement with government in this regard. Black professionals and black businesses stand ready to assist government in the implementation of the programme.

Amongst other issues discussed for input into the ANC NEC Economic Transformation Subcommittee towards the Policy Conference include the review of the Preferential Procurement  Policy Framework Act (PPPFA). Specially the need to call on government to withdraw Practice Note Number SCM 2 of 2006 which prohibits set asides.

“We have a progressive constitution that allows for redress and addressing the historical injustice. We must make sure that our regulations allow scope to achieve transformation and use of state levers, such as preferential procurement to bring black people, especially women, youth and the rural poor into the economy” says Mkhize. “This is not a new matter and we commit to resolve it speedily.”

The African National Congress will hold its 5th National Policy Conference from the 30th June to the 5th July 2017 where all these matters are expected to be discussed to develop recommendations towards the National Conference in December.

ANC LEADS CONDOLENCE MOTION FOR UNCLE KATHY IN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Staff Reporter

The Chief Whip of the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament, Comrade Jackson Mthembu, along with ANC Senior MP Comrade Charles Nqakula led a condolence motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The condolence motion was in memory of ANC Stalwart, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, former political prisoner, anti-apartheid activist and icon of our hard won democracy. Uncle Kathy, as he is fondly known, passed away in March this year.

Uncle Kathy left an indelible foot print that will never be erased. He was a source of wisdom, a lesson in humility, tolerance and resilience, Mthembu told the Assembly. He then offered his condolences to Uncle Kathy’s wife, Comrade Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family, the ANC family and the country.

We must preserve the memory of Uncle Kathy as a mirror for ourselves, as members of the ANC in this parliament, to see whether we are succeeding in emulating his values, beseeched ANC MP Charles Nqakula. Uncle Kathy worked with Nelson Mandela and together with other comrades like Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu to create a new nation with new values, he added.

Nqakula also paid tribute to many South Africans who have lost their lives in the recent past.

The brazen murder of young women and children and brazen criminality, required our collective wisdom, said Nqakula, calling for the public’s full support for the police, who cannot do their work without the support of communities.

Nqakula also asked MP’s to use their constituency resources to educate communities and stop the carnage.

He condemned the tendency to seek to ‘airbrush’ our past because it sits uncomfortable with some.

He singled out the painful history of Indians in this country in our struggle for liberation.

Uncle Kathy’s courage and that of many other comrades gave impetus to the Youth of 1976.

Nqakula said it was also important to know that the racist Nationalist Party government used divide and rule to separate uncle Kathy from other comrades but Uncle Kathy refused. As accused number 5 in the so-called Rivonia Trial, the lawyers had told him that the state had an option to release him but Uncle Kathy chose his comrades and gave 26 years of his life.

The struggle for liberation has been long and hard, Nqakula said.

Uncle Kathy understood organisational discipline at all times. If the organisation had taken a decision Uncle Kathy would abide by that decision. He was a man of action and adhered to all requests by ANC leaders.

“You would have to force him to lead, he was not a man who wanted positions for himself,” Nqakula said.

Towards the end of his life, Uncle Kathy expressed misgivings about the direction the ANC was heading towards. He wanted the ANC to destroy corruption, which was destroying our moral values as an organization and destroying our country.

He raised his concerns openly and without fear, and it remained a painful experience to have to go public with his criticism of the ANC and its leaders, Nqakula said.

Nqakula received Uncle Kathy’s message as simple, ‘Guard our precious movement’.

This was a similar message that comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo had given to the generation of Uncle Kathy in the early 90’s.

Other Members of Parliament also gave Tribute to Uncle Kathy. The Democratic Alliance acknowledged him as an activist and a humanitarian to the core.

The Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi also paid tribute to uncle Kathy, calling him his friend and expressed gratitude for his contribution to the liberation of our country.

BROADCASTING INDUSTRY CALLS FOR FUTURISTIC VISIONARY OUTLOOK ON ICT POLICY

mthembujStaff Reporter

The development of premium local content, the protection of Free-To-Air broadcasters, a renewed focus on youth, and the furtherance of a visionary futuristic outlook.

These were some of the issues raised by members of the broadcasting industry in an engagement session on the governing party’s Communications discussion document ahead of the party’s policy conference. The engagement session was held at the Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown, and takes place ahead of the ANC’s National Policy Conference to be held from the 30th June to 5 July 2017.

The meeting was convened by the ANC NEC subcommittee on Communications, led by Chief Whip and NEC Member Comrade Jackson Mthembu.

Also in attendance were ANC NEC Subcommittee Members including Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu and ANC National Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

From the industry were, amongst others, representatives from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South African Communications Forum (SACF), ENCA, the Universal Service and Access Agency (USAASA), Multichoice, ETV, Sentech, Nemisa, the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA), and a number of community radio stations.

The Document titled “Towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Enabling economic growth, an inclusive society and balanced public discourse” was launched by the governing party in March 2017 to guide discussions between members of the organization and society at large on policy amendments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related industries.

It set outs amongst others the need for the strengthening of free-to-air broadcasting services, greater support to community media and the creation of the regulatory framework of Over the Top (OTT) products such as Showmax and Netflix.

“We cannot allow outflows of our much needed resources through these OTTs to remain unchecked. We must learn from best practice from amongst others the European Union in this regard”, says subcommittee Chairperson Mthembu.

Speaking to inform the governing party’s broadcasting policies, delegates spoke about missed opportunities as a result of the delays in the roll out of digital migration. But most importantly the impact this has had with regards to South Africa remaining “in the dark ages” whilst the world embraces the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The meeting called for the accelerated implementation of ANC resolutions in this regard, and that ANC deployees in government have to implement ANC policy with urgency.

“This is a long outstanding issue in which we have not moved. You cannot speak of the Fourth Industrial Revolution when you have not even digitized,” said Mthembu.

He added that there was agreement on this matter between the ANC and comrades in government. “For every single day’s delay, South Africa is the loser,” continued Mthembu.

Participants strongly recommended that the Broadcasting Bill be withdrawn from Parliament; that focus should be on fast tracking the review of the Broadcasting Policy; and that there should be integration into the Integrated ICT White Paper.

Meeting Chairperson Lindiwe Zulu called on the many comrades of the ANC active in the ICT sector to contribute to and strengthen the work of the subcommittee.

“These discussions must transcend the necessity created by the Policy Conference to be a standing practice of the ANC towards policy creation and implementation” said Zulu.

“The ANC will always need specialists in the area and 23 years down the line we have created many of them… we must be able to draw all these people back into the organization and work with the new and developing cadreship in the sector”, continued Zulu.

Subcommittee Chairperson Comrade Jackson Mthembu committed to ensure the the views expressed by the meeting find popular expression in the recommendations of the National Policy Conference- towards the National Conference in December. The National Conference is the highest decision making body in the ANC and will then consider for adoption all recommendations made.

PRESIDENT ZUMA CALLS FOR AN END TO PUBLIC SQUABBLES

Zuma@MKStaff Reporter

President Jacob Zuma says the challenges facing the African National Congress (ANC) threaten to erode it’s standing as the leader of South African society.

He was giving the keynote address to the 5th Conference of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in Boksburg Johanesburg last week.

President Zuma said the conference was yet another opportunity at rebirth and renewal of Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veteran’s Association as an organisation. He lauded delegates, saying: “…you, comrades of Umkhonto Wesizwe, who were prepared to lay down your lives for our freedom, represent the legitimate voices of those who are truly concerned about the state of our beloved movement.”

The head of the governing party said that unity was the ‘rock’ upon which the ANC was founded, and that a series of recent high-profile public spats threatened the cohesion and unity of the organisation.

He encouraged the delegates at the conference to rise, speak and fight in defence of the movement and the National Democratic Revolution, as MKMVA was best placed to launch such a defence.

“MK comrades are the best politically and Ideologically trained comrades our movement has ever produced, the President said.

The President also took an opportunity to explain the complexity of the problems the organisation was facing, noting that the kinds of problems the ANC is facing today are not cut and dried but are complex and require sober minds.

In our efforts to resolve the movement’s challenges, we must always make a thorough assessment of the state of our revolution and answer important questions, the President said.

One of these important questions was, ”Is the National Democratic Revolution still on track”, he asked.

After making reference to the 1969 Strategy and Tactics document, the President impressed on the delegates that the revolution sought not only to defeat Apartheid and Colonialism but also to create a totally new society, founded on non-racialism, non-sexism, democracy and prosperity.

“We have not yet created this society hence a case exists for us to continue our revolutionary struggle.”

President Zuma put more emphasis on who the enemy of the motive forces of the democratic revolution was. He also expressed hope that the issue of abuse of our open democracy, which has resulted in the exponential rise of foreign-owned security companies posed a real and measurable threat to our own security. He said he hoped that MKMVA would take some resolutions on this issue.

“We are in a fight and our strategic enemy remains white monopoly capital,” he said, and called for an end to complacency. He cautioned that some societal groupings have mobilized against the ANC and some within our ranks have fallen prey to these groupings in order to appear intellectually and morally sound.

The President then gave his clear directive. “

Let us unite, let us close ranks, and refuse to join sporadic movements whose origins and ultimate objectives we do not know. We must close ranks and find solutions to the challenges we are facing today.”

MANTASHE CALLS FOR ‘BOLDNESS’ TO ADDRESS ALLIANCE CHALLENGES

mantashe-gwedeSTAFF WRITER

The African National Congress (ANC) is going through ‘the most difficult period in a longtime, akin to a time in the 30’s when Pixley ka Seme was President and ANC almost collapsed.”

This was the sentiment expressed by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe in his keynote address to the Central Committee of the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM)

The meeting, held on 8 June 2017 at the St Georges Hotel in Irene Tshwane, was to be addressed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who could not attend owing to the three-line whip in Parliament.

Mantashe, the former General-Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers indicated that his input was intended to enrich the debates at the Central Committee gathering- and were not to be taken as an instruction or a party line that all must follow.

He likened the current turbulence in the ANC to a similar turbulence in the 60’s which culminated into the Morogoro Conference.

With regards to the controversies and contestations around the position of the party presidency – Mantashe likened current events to the when ANC President Dr. James Moroka left foot soldiers in court and organized his own lawyers during the Defiance Campaign and once again the movement almost collapsed.

The ANC Secretary-General had similarly cautionary words for the health of the tripartite alliance, warning: “the Alliance is also in disarray by design”.

“But Instead of accepting our responsibilities, we are entering a beauty contest in the public domain”, Mantashe told delegates; adding that “all our allies think the only solution to our problems is removing President Zuma.”

Mantashe explained that the ANC’s National Executive Committee has had long discussions on the matter of removing the President and has resolved that doing so would irreparably fracture the organization.

“We may have the instant gratification now but it will take us much longer to pick up the pieces”, he said.

Mantashe was clear on which ANC regions would be worst affected.

“Kwa-Zulu/Natal will be split into two immediately. The North-West will be split, and the Free State will be a disaster”, Mantashe said.

Mantashe told the NUM Central Committee: “The ANC NEC’s conclusion was that we must not be adventurous in dealing with this issue and (thereby) plunge ourselves into chaos.” He added: “The birth of COPE which we saw during the removal of President Mbeki would be like a Sunday picnic”.

He said the NEC’s ultimate conclusion was to work for unity of the movement and for a successful National Conference in December 2016 that will elect a leadership that will instill confidence in society.

This formula, Mantashe said, will work much better than the allure of short-term solutions. Only a systematic process of electing leaders in December that will stop looting and corruption in the state will work.

Mantashe dismissed speculation that the ANC was ‘avoiding’ making a decision on the recall of President Zuma, emphasizing that the ANC NEC has collectively decided on a course of action.

Once the organization takes a decision, individual members have no views of their own, acknowledged Mantashe.

“It is a painful process but the organisation is bigger than all of us. That is what is called organisational discipline.” He added: “History is going to prove us correct in our approach.”

Mantashe at that point called out the ANC Youth League for lack of organizational discipline, calling the League ‘henchmen’ who get ‘unleashed on individual Comrades… creating enemies that do not exist.’

He indicated that the ANC would deal with this issue internally.

The controversial issues of state capture and the so-called ‘leaked emails’ were not left off the agenda either, with Mantashe. With regards to the latter Mantashe expressed concern at what he termed the ‘securocracy’ who were unearthing ‘dirt’ and spreading misinformation on those perceived as stumbling blocks to their agendas.

Mantashe ended by pinning hope on the upcoming Policy conference as an opportunity for all of us to retrace what brings us together.

Despite all the challenges the movement and the alliance are facing, Mantashe insisted that a divorce between the ANC and SACP would accelerate both ANC and SACP losing power.

He expressed optimism that the upcoming national policy conference would be an opportunity to forge unity within party ranks. “It is not scandals or state capture that brings us together… the National Democratic Revolution brings us together,” said Mantashe.

ANC MEETS WITH DELEGATION FROM SAHRAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

Staff Reporter

The African National Congress (ANC) led by the Secretary-General Cde. Gwede Mantashe and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (POLISARIO), led by President Brahim Ghali of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) have met at the ANC headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

The ANC and the POLISARIO Front enjoy longstanding fraternal ties, and the ANC once again affirmed its support the Sahrawi people’s right to independence and self-determination.

President Ghali and his delegation welcomed the opportunity to interact with the ANC and reflect that his organization and the people of Western Sahara continue to draw strength and lessons from our struggle against colonialism and apartheid.

President Ghali paid tribute to the legacies of successive collective ANC leaders as led by Cde. Nelson Mandela and Cde. OR Tambo, who were unwavering in their support for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.

The then nascent relations between POLISARIO and the ANC were cemented by Cde. Tambo’s visit to the SADR in 1988. During this visit, POLISARIO donated arms and ammunition confiscated from Moroccan troops to the ANC.

The two organizations concurred that Morocco’s actions in the Western Sahara bear similarities to the apartheid policies of the Nationalist Party government.

Following his visit to the SADR, Cde. Tambo himself noted: “we were also very surprised by the similarity of the nature of the struggle of the Sahrawi people and the people of South Africa.”

The freedom struggle of the Sahrawi and their right to an independent homeland in the Western Sahara is one of the world’s longest and most intractable conflicts.

Over four decades since the annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and Mauritania the peace process is in tatters, and the Sahrawi people continue to suffer the harsh realities of war and displacement, poverty and inequality.

The ANC’s Secretary-General underscored the urgency of the implementation by Morocco of successive UN resolutions regarding this conflict; most importantly the holding of a referendum on self-determination.

The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established in 1991 to oversee a referendum in which the people of the Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco. Successive delays and postponements by Morocco, aided by France, have meant the referendum has still not taken place.

Within the context of the delayed referendum, the SADR delegation expressed concern regarding Morocco’s application for re-admission to the African Union (AU), a matter likely to be on the agenda at the upcoming 28th AU Summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 22 – 31 January 2017.

The SADR and ANC representatives noted that the Western Sahara remained occupied by Morocco, making the Western Sahara the last bastion of colonialism in Africa. This should not be forgotten when the AU considers Morocco’s application for readmission.

That a number of South African companies are doing business with Morocco, and even have operations in the Western Sahara, was raised as a point of concern.

President Ghali’s delegation informed the ANC that attempts were underway to undermine the process of a prospective referendum such as the influx of people from Morocco into the Western Sahara, with the aim of being registered as voters.

This has the potential to seriously destabilize the referendum process when it takes place, and could possibly result in a return to armed conflict. It was further noted that Morocco has been pressuring a number of countries to stop providing humanitarian aid to the SADR, which was also questionable.

In the light of Morocco’s recalcitrance with regards to the Western Sahara issue, both organizations concurred that South Africa could play a leading role in advancing the interests of the Sahrawi people at the AU by lobbying other African countries to ensure that Morocco’s readmission to the body is subject to strict conditions, and that Morocco respect all AU resolutions regarding the Western Sahara.

The ANC affirmed its support for the Sahrawi people’s right to pursue all paths of resistance in their quest for liberation, led by POLISARIO.

Both parties concurred on the need to host a conference on solidarity with the people of the Western Sahara.